November/December 2012 EBJ (Issue 74) - We have taken our kids hunting since they were babies. First in the backpack flying my falcons at grouse, shooting pheasants and later tagging along for turkeys and deer. But, I think their real learning came from stalking small birds and rabbits with their longbows and BB guns. My oldest son, Cougar, killed his first deer, a nice 145- inch mulie buck, after a two-hour stalk and a forty-yard shot with his bow. He was 12 then and has since arrowed five other deer…all on the ground, spot and stalk.
Not far behind is his little brother Peter. Peter also was 12 years old when he took his first buck. He was in a treestand and could hear a deer walking by just out of sight behind a line of cedars. He couldn’t take the suspense anymore so he actually crawled out of the stand and made a stalk on a young whitetail buck. He shot him through the heart with an arrow at twenty yards. As a father, I couldn’t be more proud of both of them. Last archery season was a great one for my two older boys. I had both boys put their hunts down in writing in their own words to share the feeling and excitement that is such a great part of what we do as bowhunters. This is their story. ~ Gon Sanchez, Father
The weekend of October first was the second good chance I had at a really good mulie buck during the 2011 archery deer season. That morning I planned to hunt with my good friend and main hunting buddy, Hayden Miller. We hunted an area where we had seen some good bucks early in the season. There was a fresh frost and cold crisp air as we hiked into the area in the dark. As soon as the sun hit the horizon we began seeing does, but no bucks. We didn’t locate one of the bucks until the sun was well over the hilltops. He was the smallest of the three bucks we had seen earlier in the season.
We watched him until finally the other two bucks we were looking for showed up. We watched them all morning until they found a bedding area they liked. They bedded down in a spot we could get at them and hopefully get a shot, but it was about a half-mile walk to where they were. As we got closer to them, one of the bucks suddenly appeared at the top of the hill. We both hit the dirt ,hoping they didn’t see us, but it was too late; the bucks were running. We were wondering what had happened when all of a sudden right behind the bucks came a lone coyote. We ran to the top of the hill to see if we could see where they were headed. As soon as we crested the hill, we saw the bucks headed for another small draw, which was actually the draw we had glassed from that morning. We sat down and watched them for about a half-hour until they bedded down again.
Once they bedded, we came up with another game plan to get the best chance for a shot with the wind in our favor. With the plan set, we had to walk about a mile to get all the way around them and stay out of sight, hoping another coyote wouldn’t bust them again. Once we got to the draw, I told Hayden to hang back and let me see how close I could get because there was very little cover. There were only a few yucca plants between me and the bucks. When I closed the final seventy yards, the wind began to die, but luckily the ground was still damp which helped keep sound at a minimum…or so I thought. I got to within forty yards of the bucks before I cold see them, but the one I could see wasn’t the big buck. I still had some cover to get a little closer, but only about ten yards.
I slowly inched my way to the last yucca plant I could reasonably get to and was thirty yards from the smaller buck. As soon as I got to the yucca, I saw the big buck, but only his head and no vitals for the shot. With an arrow nocked, I got into a position that I could shoot from if he stood up and waited. Three hours passed and only the smaller bucks stood up to shift around in their bed. I was beginning to get the urge to try to make him stand up, but I told myself to be patient and continue to wait for him. After one more hour had passed, he began to look around and act as if he were about to stand. Sure enough, he started to stand and at that moment I drew. However, one of the little bucks busted me and the big buck took off before I could get the pin settled for the shot. I called it quits because I didn’t want to push him anymore that day. (continued on page 43 in the Nov/Dec 2012 Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal)
I had been out hunting with my dad on some public land not too far from our house and we found a group of five nice bucks. When we saw them go over a rise and never come up the other side we figured they had bedded somewhere in the drainage.
We planned a way to be able to look into the drainage without disturbing the bucks if they were in a bad spot. There was a juniper tree that we could get to in a good spot to look from without being seen. When we got up to it, there was a lone buck bedded straight ahead of us. We couldn’t tell how big he was, but we decided to try to make a stalk on him. My dad stayed by the tree so he could watch and I circled all the way around him to come up from behind. I was able to get within twentyfive yards, but could only see his top fork above the sagebrush he was bedded in. My dad was still by the tree and was trying to peek-a-boo the buck to get him to stand up. I tried to creep to the left so I could see the vitals when the buck stood. He looked at me for a split second and then bolted. He must have heard me, but he was one of the smaller bucks anyway and it was good practice for only being my second year bowhunting. After that, we headed home because it started to rain pretty hard.
About a week after that encounter we were out in the same spot looking for the bucks. All we could find was one smaller buck that was not very wide but was tall and had good forks. We tried to close the distance on him, but were only able to get to about 60 yards. I did not feel comfortable taking that shot. My dad tried, but missed the buck just over his back. We still had a fun time and did find the arrow, so all was well.
When we came home from school the next day, our family friend, Stephen Payne, was in the driveway and I knew we would be going hunting. My dad had to take my brother to a football game, but Stephen offered to have me tag along with him. The only problem was my string stop on my bow had fallen off and needed to be fixed. I told Stephen to just go without me, but he said not to worry about it, and that he would wait for me. Once we fixed that minor problem, we headed off. I took Stephen to where we had seen the bucks the last couple of times. We walked and glassed while sidehilling the main draw and looked in the finger draws that came off the main draw. We had gone over most of the big fingers already and were just to about on top of the last finger when Stephen signaled to drop. He had seen what he thought was a whitetail buck, but wasn’t sure. The buck was bedded just four yards from the fence at the edge of the public land. (continued on page 45 in the Nov/Dec 2012 Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal)
For a full account of Cougar and Peter's adventure, go to page 42 in the November/December 2012 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.